On April 11, the New York City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing held a hearing on a package of bills affecting street vendors, most important among them a proposal that would raise the artificial cap put on the number of mobile food vendors that has been in place since 1983. For the third time in six years, we were at City Hall with the Street Vendor Project to make our voices heard.
Intro 1116 would take several steps to address the issue of black-market permit renting. While Mobile Food Vending Permits only cost $200 for two years, they can be renewed indefinitely, and there is a hard cap of 5,100 permits available. As a result, very few permits come back into circulation, and most permit holders don’t actually vend, but rent their permit to working vendors; the going rate is currently around $25,000.>> Continue reading
Last week, New York City was visited by the flagship of the Royal Navy, HMS Queen Elizabeth. This 65,000-ton carrier has spent several weeks in the US while undergoing flight testing with the F-35B fighter, which will be the primary component of its air wing. The seven-day stopover in New York was mostly for crew R-and-R, though the ship also hosted the Atlantic Future Forum on cybersecurity.
New York City is home to the Intrepid, permanently docked on the Hudson River and home to the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, and the city still hosts Fleet Week every year around Memorial Day (with some exceptions), but aircraft carriers have not been part of the festivities for over a decade. Let’s take a look back at some of the floating airfields that have visited the city.>> Continue reading
It’s that time of year again – we’ve had our first snow in New York City, Christmas music is playing in every shop and store, and Christmas tree stands line the sidewalks.
While most Americans buy their Christmas trees from places like hardware stores, garden centers, churches, or Wal-Mart, New Yorkers rely on a somewhat unique economy of sellers that occupy public sidewalks all over the city for one month a year. So, how did we arrive at this arrangement, and why does it persist when so much of our city’s sidewalk economy has been stamped out?>> Continue reading
As promised, Wednesday was an inspiring day, the culmination of years of hard work and campaigning by our partners, vendors, and friends. Though a seemingly small piece of legislation was approved by the New York City Council (and it’s not law yet, as the mayor has promised to veto it), it is something that will have a real impact on the lives of thousands of workers in this city, and the proceedings brought attention to important issues that usually get little public notice.
Our team members Cindy VandenBosch, Rich Garr, Andrew Gustafson, and Brian Hoffman were on hand for the session, though we saw them from slightly different vantage points – Cindy and Rich, from inside the City Council chamber, amidst vendors and supporters; Andrew and Brian, from the sidewalk outside the City Hall gates, then Andrew from an office computer via streaming video.>> Continue reading
Wednesday is a big day for New York City’s street vendors. After months of stalling, the speaker of the City Council (and mayoral candidate) Christine Quinn has finally promised to bring to a vote legislation to reduce and simplify fines imposed on vendors. This vote comes after years of campaigning and lobbying by the Street Vendor Project, including months of plastering posters with Speaker Quinn’s face on carts across the city to pressure her to call the vote.>> Continue reading
A small item in the mayor’s draft budget that was released today caught our attention, because it may have big impacts on the street vendors we work with. Mayor Bloomberg wants to try to collect the millions of dollars in unpaid fines issued to vendors, and he wants to do it by spending $580,000 of city money on lawyers to pursue these so-called scofflaws. What he fails to grasp is the reason why so many fines go unpaid – it’s usually due to poverty and discrimination, not disrespect for the law (read more about this proposal on Gothamist).>> Continue reading